How to Pick the Right Medical Assistant Course near Tempe Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Tempe AZ, it's time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might decide to take a look at several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are examining. And to help you with that task, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let's briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
Why Study to Become a CMA?When preparing to interview for a Medical Assistant job near Tempe AZ, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Medical Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to choose health care as a career?" What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a CMA, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assistance, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional healthcare provider and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The function of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their role is to make sure that the Tempe AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Arizona law, some choose to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Tempe AZ health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two options available for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs offered at Arizona community and junior colleges in addition to technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They often have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for graduates who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a position after graduation, but it might also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Tempe AZ medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, including the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Colleges
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs available online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for Arizona students who continue working full time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an extra benefit, a number of online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be performed in Tempe AZ area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of getting your education might be the ideal choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you need to decide which kind of credential you want to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the process of evaluating medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are closest to Tempe AZ with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when evaluating programs. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the school you enroll in is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps guarantee that the education you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as mentioned previously, many prospective Tempe AZ employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program's Passing Rate? Most of the Arizona accredited medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To start with, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to choose a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to acquire an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take approximately 2 years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the Arizona schools you are looking at provide the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous medical assistant schools sponsor internship programs with Tempe AZ area health care providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Tempe medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Finding that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Tempe AZ area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a large network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If possible, try to monitor a few classes before enrolling in a school to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accessible? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work full time, it's essential that the program you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, make certain that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that will be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Tempe AZ Medical Assistant Training
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the appropriate training. Whether you're objective is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the right info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you decide on is accredited by a recognized organization, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don't forget to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Tempe AZ.